THOMAS HARDING, farmer and stock-raiser, resides on section 3, Oregon Township. He was born April 7, 1828, in Morgan County, Ohio, and is a son of Lewis G. and Mary (Brannon) Harding, the former a native of Virginia, and of English descent, and the latter of Pennsylvania, and of English and German descent. They reared a family of ten children, nine of whom are living. His parents came to this county in 1861, and settled in Oregon Township, where they died, the father in 1878, aged eighty-two, and the mother in 1884, at the age of eighty-two.
The subject of this sketch was reared on a farm, and in 1850 was united in marriage, in Morgan
County, Ohio, with Miss Alvira J. Sears, daughter of William A. and Margaret Sears. She was born in Morgan County, Ohio, in 1830. Seven children have been born unto them, six of whom are living; Browning H. married Mary Miller, by whom he has three childrenThomas L., Jennie and Gracie; Mary J. married Thomas Glaze, of Johnson County, and has one child, Irene; Minnie is the wife of Fred Jackson, and has two childrenCharles T. and Jennie E.; Ella, Lewis W. and Maggie are at home. Mr. and Mrs. Harding, together with their entire family, are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically, he is a Republican.
In 1861 Mr. Harding concluded it would be better for him and his family to leave his native State and come to one where land was much cheaper and where a poor man would have a chance to better himself in this life. He therefore, came to Washington County, Iowa, purchasing eighty acres of land where he now resides, to which he has since added forty acres, and has now a fine farm of 120 acres which is well improved in every respect. His residence was erected in 1875, at a cost of $1,400; his barns and other out-buildings are in good condition, well and substantially made. For some time Mr. Harding was compelled to rent land, but having succeeded by the most rigid economy in saving a little, purchased a farm, and is now regarded as one of the most enterprising citizens of Oregon Township. Few men are better known in the township, and none are more highly respected.
CAPT. SIDNEY E. WOODFORD,Brighton, Iowa, is also numbered among the early settlers of Washington County. He is a native of Vienna, Trumbull Co., Ohio, born Oct. 20, 1829. Isaac Woodford, the grandfather of our subject, was a native of Connecticut, who moved to Ohio in about 1800. Amon Woodford, our subject's father, was there born, and married Nancy Nelson, formerly of Virginia. By this union there are five living children, three sons and two daughters: Mary A., the wife of Job Holiday, of Trumbull County, Ohio; Sidney E., of Brighton; Nelson, of this county; Isaac N., of Cass County, Neb.; Elizabeth C., the wife of J. A. McFadden, of Canton, Ohio. They were members of the Presbyterian Church, and were highly respected for their honesty, industry and sterling worth.
The subject of this sketch was reared on a farm, and received his education in the pioneer log schoolhouse. In 1850 he left his native State and came to Iowa, spending the first winter in Clay Township, Washington County. In the spring of 1851 he moved to Brighton, which has since been his home. On the 14th day of March, 1854, he was united in marriage with Miss Abigail Moore, a daughter of Anson Moore, one of the pioneers of this county. She was born in Trumbull County, Ohio, Dec. 27, 1835. Soon after the breaking out of the Rebellion, Mr. Woodford, in company with Vincent Andrus and Dr. S. C. Cook, then of this county, now of Sigourney, Keokuk County, succeeded in raising a company composed of men from Washington County, which subsequently became Co. K, of the 13th Iowa Infantry. On the election of officers at its organization, Mr. Woodford was made Captain, Mr. Andrus First Lieutenant, and Mr. Cook Second Lieutenant. The regiment was mustered in at Davenport, Iowa, where it remained about two months, and was then sent to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, and there equipped. From St. Louis it was sent to Pittsburg Landing, and in the battle of Shiloh lost heavily. It was next ordered to Corinth, Miss., at which place, on account of a sunstroke, Capt. Woodford was compelled to resign his commission. Returning home he again took up his trade of carpenter and joiner, and has since continued to follow the same.
In politics Capt. Woodford is a staunch Republican, and for three years was one of the members of the Board of Supervisors of Washington County, serving as Chairman of the board for two years, during which time the present county hospital was erected, Capt. Woodford superintending the same. Capt. Woodford and his wife are the parents of four children. Edwin N., now at Escolon, Mex., engaged in railroading; Ella A. is a graduate of the High School at Brighton, and is now engaged in teaching; Frank A. is Station Agent at Sheffield, Franklin Co., Iowa; Charles S. resides at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Woodford are members of the Congregational Church at Brighton. Fraternally he is a member in good standing of the I.O.O.F., and has passed all the Chairs in the Subordinate Lodge. He was for a time Deputy Grand Master for that order in this State. He is also a member of George Logan Post No. 363, G.A.R. Capt. Woodford is a man well and favorably known throughout the county, and in the discharge of every official duty he has won the confidence of all. Socially he is esteemed by every one.
REUBEN GILBERT is a native of New York, born in 1818, and is the son of Reuben and Nancy (Badger) Gilbert. He came to this county Nov. 8, 1854, and in 1856 bought a farm in Franklin Township, which he improved. In 1863 he moved to his present farm on section 4, Franklin Township. July 8, 1849, he married Miss Mary A. Gype, a native of Pennsylvania. They have three childrenLyman H., Benjamin L., and Ida V., wife of John A. Hough, West Chester, Iowa. In 1876 Benjamin moved to Shelbey County, Iowa, where he worked at his trade of carpenter. From there he went to Council Bluffs, and then into Arkansas with a railroad bridge-building corps. After being engaged in that business for a time he started home, got as far as St. Louis, and there disappeared, has never since been heard from. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert are members of the Baptist Church. Politically he is a Republican, and has been Constable of his township.
WILLIAM GORMLY, farmer, section 8, Crawford Township, was born in Washington County, Pa., in 1817. He is the son of Thomas and Hannah (Stewart) Gormly. Thomas Gormly was born in Ireland, and was a single man when he came to America. His wife was also born in that country, but their marriage occurred in Washington County, Pa., where most of their lives were spent. Their latter years were passed in Westmoreland County, near Blairsville. By trade, Thomas was a weaver, and for many years followed that occupation. He was one of the best of weavers, and had a loom in his own house. HIs last years were spent upon a little farm near the village mentioned. Thomas and his wife were the parents of our subject, Ann, Thomas, Robert, John and Samuel, besides others who died in infancy. William and John were the only ones coming to Iowa, and the latter's death occurred a few months later. His body was found in the Mississippi River near Burlington, he having started to return to his home in Pennsylvania. He was unmarried. Ann became the wife of Andrew Cook, and is yet a resident of Westmoreland Cuonty; she reared two children, both deceased; she is now a widow. Robert resides on the paternal farm in his native State, and married Mary Russell, who has borne five children; Thomas and Samuel both died unmarried.
Our subject was married in Westmoreland county, in 1846, to Nancy McCahon, who bore John McCahon, Thomas R., Hannah J. and Elizabeth. The parents of Nancy, Alexander and Elizabeth McCahon, were natives of Ireland, and were married there. They reared four children, all born in that country. John, James, Elizabeth and Nancy. The death of the mother ensued soon after coming, she having been injured in jumping from the boat when they landed. The wife of our subject died in Pennsylvania. Mr. Gormly came to this county in 1853, purchasing his present farm, at that time an 80-acre tract, now largely increased by later purchases. John and Thomas came after their father had located, he having, in February, 1854, married Susan J. Harreld, daughter of one of the early settlers of Crawford Township, and Mrs. Gormly is the only one of that family now a resident. They were formerly residents of Sangamon County, Ill., and came to this county in September, 1835, thus taking rank among the first settlers of the county. The maternal grandparents of Susan Herrald, Benjamin and Sarah Hudson, also came from Sangamon County, Ill, the same year. The lands of both the Hudson and the Harreld families were among the first entries in this county. Neither of the Hudsons named are at this time residents of the township, where a quarter of a century since their names and
faces were familiar, and the remains of both grandparents lie in the Crawfordsville Cemetery.
Our subject and his wife had seven children born on the farm where he now resides: Ann, the wife of Thomas McKee, is the mother of five childrenMinnie, Frank, Harry, Thomas, deceased; Gilbert and William D.; Mary Robert; William S. and William both deceased; Luther and Calvin complete the family. William Gormly was twice elected Trustee of his township, and for sixteen consecutive years has served as Supervisor. His membership with the United Presbyterian Church dates from 1853, the year of his locating in the county. Mr. Gormly has from a poor boy grown to a wealthy man in mature years, by the exercise of untiring industry. He is now in his seventieth year, and is surrounded by a large and interesting family. Ann, the wife of Mr. McKee, was, before her marriage, a teacher in the schools, teaching in the Camp-ground School-house. The sons are all farmers, and the aged father looks after his lands, which have been so finely improved since he came to the State. The historian finds him hard at work, unmindful of the burning rays of the July sun, and the facts enumerated may be considered authentic, as they were furnished by him in person.